Govt approves labs to manage epidemics

The Centre on Friday approved a proposal for setting up of a network of laboratories for managing epidemics and natural calamities at medical colleges in the country.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also cleared a proposal of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for setting up of multi-disciplinary research units in 80 government medical colleges during the 12th Plan period.

Of these, 35 units will be established in 2013-14 and 45 in 2014-15 at an estimated cost of about Rs 503.85 crore. Under the programme to manage epidemics and natural calamities, the government will support establishment of 10 regional laboratories, 30 state-level laboratories and another 120 laboratories in medical colleges across the country.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram said: “The initiative will greatly help in building capacity for handling viral diseases in the country in terms of early and timely diagnosis, development of tools to predict viral disease outbreaks beforehand, continuous monitoring and surveillance of existing as well as new viral strains and handling viruses with a potential to be used as agents of bio -terrorism.”

The proposal involves a total expenditure of Rs 646.83 crore, of which the Centre will entail an expenditure of Rs 485 crore and the remaining Rs 162 crore will be contributed by the state governments.

The proposed setting up of multi-disciplinary research units in government medical colleges is expected to encourage and strengthen an environment of research in government medical colleges and bridge the gap in infrastructure. Under the programme, the Centre will provide a one-time financial assistance up to Rs 5.25 crore to each government medical college for setting up of multi-disciplinary research unit.

In addition, financial assistance of Rs 19.23 lakh per annum for meeting recurring expenditure towards staff will also be provided for a period of five years to each medical college.

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